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The Terror by Dan Simmons
Strange Tales Vol III ed by Rosalie Parker
In The Courts Of The Sun by Brian D'Amato
Creatures Of The Pool by Ramsey Campbell

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Conjure by Mark West


Conjure
by Mark West
Publisher : Rainfall Books, 2009.

There is a tradition in Britain of the seaside holiday. For years people from the cities packed up and left for a few days in the sun at their local seaside resort. Unfortunately these thriving holiday havens have suffered from the availability of cheap package holidays abroad. Now they are left, desolate and slightly grim, unused and rundown. So when Rob and his girlfriend Beth win a weekend in one of these towns, it’s seen as something of a booby prize.

Beth is pregnant, however, so relishes the prospect of some time away so, determined to enjoy themselves, they set out for Heyton. Unfortunately within the town, there is an ancient wrong that needs to be put right and the solution lies in (yes in) pregnant women.

Mark West has created a marvelously enjoyable short novel which captures some of that faded glory of the seaside resort. Add to that the complex relationship of a young couple who are about to have their first child and all the stresses and joy that comes with it and you have a firm base for the tale.

Throw in some ancient and dark history, some interesting (and disturbing local characters) and a large dose of supernatural power and the story works well. It’s a strangely British tale and reminded me of something that may have been produced in the seventies by Hammer or part of Tales of the Unexpected but very much updated with modern quotas of brutality and gore. It’s closest in style to the likes of Bill Hussey or Adam Neville.

If it has a fault it is only that it is quite short and could easily, I think, have been expanded into a full length novel. It’s the first I have read from Mark West but he is definitely a name I will be looking out for in the future.

Rating 4 out of 5
(This post previously appeared on Highlander's Book Reviews)



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